Feroen J. Betts, 95

Feroen J. Betts, age 95, of Bryan, Ohio, passed away at 9:40 A.M. on Sunday, January 22, 2017, at Elizabeth Scott Community Assisted Living in Maumee, Ohio, where he was a resident. Feroen was a 1941 graduate of Bryan High School, where he was an all-league football player. After high school he worked in the family business, Bryan Tankage Company, until his induction into the Army in 1942. He spent forty-two months in the army during World War II, mostly in Iran, providing supplies to the Russian Front in the European Theater, and in his last months of service supplying Patton’s Army. He was discharged with the rank of Staff Sargent and a Bronze Star. He returned to Bryan and the family business and married his soul mate, Margaret A. Strasbaugh, on April 20, 1946. In 1948 Feroen started his professional baseball umpire career in the All American Girls Professional Baseball League, umpiring primarily in Indiana and Michigan with teams like the Fort Wayne Daisies, the South Bend Blue Sox, the Rockford Peaches and the Kalamazoo Lassies, while also umpiring high school and college games. His umpire career also included the American Baseball Congress and the National Baseball Congress, where he umpired games with future stars Satchel Paige, Elston Howard, Bob Feller, Hank Aaron, Jim Bunning and local players, Mel Held and Ned Garver. In his first game at that level, Feroen had the privilege of ejecting Billy Martin over a disputed call at first base. His career as an umpire lasted for thirty-four years, during which time he umpired three Ohio high school finals, two Indiana finals and one Michigan final and had the honor of umpiring the last game at Swayne Field in Toledo, Ohio, for a total of over 3,500 games at all levels for thirty-four years. He was inducted into the North Eastern Indiana Baseball Hall of Fame. He was a big hit on the service club speaking circuit in the Williams County area for both his veteran’s and baseball experiences.

In 1954, the family sold the tankage business and Feroen worked for The Ohio Art Company, Hayes-Albion and Quadco as a production manager for over thirty years. In the community he was active serving on the Bryan Board of Education for eight years, was an inaugural member of the Bryan Parks and Recreation Board, which helped build Roseland Park and a number of baseball and softball fields, was a charter member of Four County Joint Vocational School, providing trade skills and career opportunities to students in the area, and was a member and past president of the Bryan Lions Club. He also served as the Bryan baseball and softball associations board president for many years and actually started the Bryan Industrial Softball League, was the Regional Director of Pony League baseball, started and ran the Bryan Umpire Association, teaching both youth and adults rules and regulation for baseball and softball. Feroen was responsible for and assisted in the Methodist Men’s food basket distribution to the hungry on a weekly basis, was a hospice volunteer for fifteen years, and was also a leader in the county-wide effort to build the Williams County Veterans Building. He was elected to the Williams County Wall of Fame and was awarded Bryan Citizen of the Year in 2006, recognizing his seventy years of service to the community.

Survivors include his daughters, Pamela A. Bryan, of Scottsdale, Arizona, and Teresa (Dr. Charles) Betts-Cobau, of Toledo; one son, Feroen John (Joy) Betts, of Bryan; grandchildren, Nathan Bowden, Thomas (Erica) Bryan, Michael (Julie) Bryan, Jacob Betts, Sarah (Charles) vonSeggern and Rachel (Nikhil Krishnan) Betts; great-grandchildren, Sam, Myles and Lauren Nessif, Lily and Andy Bryan and Owen Bryan, and Olivia vonSeggren; and one brother, Merle D. Betts, of Sebring, Florida. He was preceded in death by Margaret Betts, his wife of 68 years; a grandson, David Betts; a granddaughter, Anna Nessif; a son-in-law, Tom Bryan; and his brothers, Adrian, Clare, Harold and Theron Betts.

Visitation for Feroen J. Betts will be held on Thursday, January 26, 2017, from 3:00-8:00 P.M. in the Krill Funeral Home, 860 West Mulberry Street, Bryan. Services celebrating Feroen’s life will be held on Friday, January 27, 2017, at 10:30 A.M. in Wesley United Methodist Church with Reverend Jeffrey Motter officiating. Interment will take place at West Franklin Cemetery near West Unity, Ohio, with grave side military rites conducted by Bryan American Legion Post #284 and the United States Army Honor Guard.

Memorial contributions are requested to the Bryan Area Foundation Feroen and Margaret Betts Scholarship, David Betts Double Play Diamond, or the Williams County Veterans Building Fund.

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